One year on Wahls! Before and After photos.

 

 

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After three months on the Wahls Protocol. End of June, 2017
after picture
Taken one week ago, one year on the Wahls Protocol, March, 2018

The before picture is with my, then, constant companions cane and leg brace at the gym. I’ve always exercised in some form or fashion. The healing is all due to the diet, along with increased exercise. I lost 40 lbs and my skin has a nice glow these days. Cane, leg brace and walker (the walker was becoming the new reality at the start of my journey on the Wahls Protocol), all are no longer needed. I walk strong, a little unsteady, but strong. Still have a limp, but not pronounced as it once was. My lower back was going, which was why I was needing the walker, unable to stand for more than five minutes at a time and falling down in my own home. My lower back will still weaken, but only after several hours of activity.

If I were more organized with this, it would be fun to make a life size cut out of the first picture and have someone film me dancing around it. My movement has improved that dramatically in one year. Today was, coincidentally, my first appointment with a career counseling agency. I said at the beginning of this journey that after one year on the Wahls Protocol I would be working. No, I don’t have a job yet, but I am sure that I am ready to try. Its been nine years.  All I can say is

Thank you DOCTOR WAHLS, MATT and DOCTOR ASHTON EMBRY, DOCTOR SWANK and EVERYONE on the DOCTOR WAHLS FACEBOOK GROUP and most importantly, MY FAMILY and FRIENDS for being so supportive! 

 

Bonne Sante!

 

 

 

Maybe having a cold is a reason to celebrate?!

I have a cold. Big deal right? Granted, I do get colds once in a while, but literally, I can count the times I’ve had a cold or the flu, together, on one hand since 2004 (the year of the onslaught of my disease). I asked my Neurologist about this once and he explained that he’s heard the same from others with MS that he works with. He explained, “Your immune system is hyped up.” That made sense to me and was what I also suspected. It is my antibodies attacking my own body because somewhere along the line, the lines of transmission were crossed and the antibodies mistook my myelin as a foreign threat to the system and they attack. Since my myelin is always there, my antibodies are always on guard. Weird, huh? A benefit of having MS. Of course, I’ll take the cold or flu over a MS attack any day.

So, I’m thinking, but certainly could be wrong, that this cold may be a sign that my immune system has relaxed a bit. Is it a sign of healing or the odd cold I would’ve gotten anyway? One will only know as time goes by. Before I sickened with MS, I traditionally got one cold and one flu most years. We’ll see how that goes in years to come. I’d be interested in posing this question to everyone on the Wahls Protocol Facebook page, we have members following longer then me. As well, I’m curious to know if other autoimmune illnesses experience this phenomenon. A two part question then. It is a diverse group of autoimmune illness sufferer’s treating their respective diseases with the Protocol. The perfect place to ask a question like that.

No exercise this week, a bummer. But, I’m sure that my classmates appreciated me not putting my body with its accompanying cold in a body of water with them. I will resume Sunday. I am feeling better today. Its hard to eat when everything tastes like metal, yuk. I had cold seed porridge with blueberries and coconut milk for the first meal and banger’s and mashed cauliflower and carrot for dinner. Didn’t get the greens in today, but that’s okay, we’ll catch up when I get my appetite and taste buds back. For now, I’m off to rest some more.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/short-red-hair-woman-blowing-her-nose-41284/

A discussion about three major autoimmune diets.

I’m excited to share a podcast that I was invited to participant in to represent the Wahls Protocol and my experience utilizing it. Podcast: https://dinosaursdonkeysandms.com/2018/03/13/dizzycast-ep-3-a-dietary-dizzy/

The podcast introduces the diets for MS (really all autoimmune illnesses will benefit from these diets). They are The Wahls Protocol, Dr. Swank’s and Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (OMS). The podcast was conducted by Heather of “Dinosaurs, Donkeys and MS” Blog. Heather is from England, has MS and follows the OMS diet. Her blog has been voted one of the best 50 MS blogs worldwide. My interview is first, followed by interviews with Jen, Robert, and Heather on their experiences with Swank and OMS (the latter being a variation that has roots in the Swank diet). All in all, I think it was an excellent introduction to these three methods. I appreciate Heather’s inclusion of the Wahls Protocol, even though she follows OMS. I was thrilled to take part in it. I believe it is important to offer information on all these methods and the Autoimmune Wellness’ method (AIP). No one during this interview touched on AIP, but it is equally as good as the others, in the vein of Dr. Wahls. I did talk about Dr. Ashton Embry’s work being the roots of Dr. Wahls’ Protocol. And, important to remember is that all of these diets owe their beginnings to Dr. Swank, who realized a connection between MS and diet in the 1950’s.

Because I believe that there is more than one way to skin a cat, I have looked into each of these till I found the one that suited me best, which for me was the Wahls Protocol, others may fare better on Dr. Swanks, OMS, MS hope’s, or AIP. I heartily encourage anyone considering pursuing one of these, to look at them all, which is why I have links to each on my page research, websites and books   You’ll find that there are similarities between all these, feel free to research each with an open mind. I hope that you’ll take the time to listen and pass it on. If you care too, I’d love to hear what you thought.

 

Bonne Sante

What next?

The sound of steel chains clanking against wood, the feel of a breeze across my face on a sunny day, the sounds of carnival music and children laughing, the fear in the pit of my stomach as we slowly climb the first big hill of a new coaster that I’ve never been on before. Deep down inside, I know we’re safe, but, a horrifying thought, “There is the rare and odd case of a malfunction, like the one I heard of that shot a car of screaming patrons off the tracks and into a billboard sign killing everyone……or was that an urban myth?” “Oh my God, were at the top!” I can see the whole park and half the city from here. We creak up to the tippy top and just begin to crest where I see for the first time just how sharp and steep the trip down will be. Yikes!

This is a how I feel with my plans to hopefully rejoin the work force. I am slowly creaking up the big hill, more than halfway to the top. Most of the time, I am sure it is the correct direction, but that it must be slow, like the car creeping up the tracked hill. Counseling first, volunteer work next, then career counseling and finally the time will be to knock on doors of potential employment situations that will be best suited for me. That day will come when I crest the hill, tipping, and I take the literal plunge. A fleeting thought, “Oh my God, will my car break away from the steady, but fast guidance of the rigid tracks as I fly off and crash and burn!”

Truth is, I don’t know what its like on the other side of that hill, this is a new coaster ride. I do know that chances are infinitely slim that I will fly off the track, because the track I am on is a steady one. It is a well thought out, well advised, researched, prepared for and worked for track, most important is that it is a Higher Powered track and I have faith. I know that the ride will be exhilarating and rewarding. I also know that I will be frightened, but really, really happy too. I love roller coaster rides. Then there is the moment of the fleeting thoughts, “Maybe I shouldn’t do this?! What if….? What if….? And…..What if?!”

Someone shot down my greatest accomplishments in my life on my resume in the space of 60 seconds because they are not suitable to be on a resume. You will be prejudiced against, red flags will be set off with this word and that word. That goes right in line with old paranoia’s that I have worked years to grow out of. Self constructed prisons of, “What will they think?” and, “Who will take me seriously?” I have not had a conventional life, both my failures and my triumphs are controversial to some. Can’t talk about MS, can’t talk about the blog, can’t talk about 26 years clean and sober and all the accomplishments I’ve had with organizing successful events. I wonder if it is okay to list success in drinking events instead. I will not hide my entire life from anyone. I bring all of me or none at all. I said that in college and I wrote honestly and I received nothing but the greatest respect from my teachers and my class mates and one A after another on all my written papers. I said then, “I bring all of myself or nothing.” I will not live a pretend life of safety that was never my real life. My life has been a roller coaster ride that I am not ashamed of. Some of it does belong on a resume. Because I earned it. If someone will prejudice me for that, than why do I want to work for anyone who thinks like that.

Bonne Sante

What’s the deal with Vitamin D?

The real question ought to be, “Why is Vitamin D a problem right now?” Because when I was a child and into my twenties, it wasn’t an issue. I’m 55, so I am referring to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Back then, I sported a dark brown tan every summer and in my twenties I kept it up year round using tanning booths in the winter. In my childhood, we didn’t talk about sun screen. Babies wore sun hats, mother’s kept them covered, toddlers ran around with tans. My brother and I have olive toned skin and many remarked to our mother about our beautiful dark tans. People who had very pale skin, were cautious when in the sun, but still out in the sun, they were the only ones I saw using salves to protect themselves from burning aside from life guards with bright white stripes of sun block on their noses. We all suffered a sunburn sometimes. I don’t recommend them, they’re not fun, but for most of us, they weren’t the end of the world either.

Its true, too much sun could damage skin and for a few, cause skin cancer. But, I feel we’ve gone way too far in the other direction, where we get no sun anymore. Especially in the north where sun is limited to begin with. In the summer we slather the highest SPF lotions we can find, lest the sun touch our skin. All my life, I’ve met only 2 people with skin cancer (mild cases). And, before you get all up in arms, be rest assured that I am not disputing that skin cancer is real, and maybe its only a coincidence that I’ve only met two people. I am only suggesting moderation and balance. For most people, some sun is not just good, but needed. Sun light is needed to produce vitamin D. It can be had through supplements too, which is what I do. I take 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 per day in the form of drops. Fair skinned Dr. Wahls takes 6,000 IUs in the winter along with short visits in a tanning bed and decreases to 4,000 IUs in the summer, whereas she is an avid Gardner and rides her bike to and from work most days.

It is a fact that lack of Vitamin D has been linked to autoimmune diseases and other equally surprising conditions:

“A lack of vitamin D has also been linked to some other conditions such as cancer, asthma, type-II diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s and type-I diabetes.” – https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/what-is-vitamin-d/

Yes, we had these diseases then too, but not to the outrageous degree that they are now prevalent in our society these days. When I was a child, I met one person who had MS. In my twenties, I knew another. Two people in two decades. The last two decades the opposite has been true, autoimmune diseases of all sorts are cropping up everywhere in cooler climate industrialized nations. Interesting though is the fact that I knew two people my entire life who had skin cancer, the kind they can remove. That is not to say that it doesn’t exist, that it shouldn’t be a prudent concern, especially for those with fair skin, who are most susceptible to damage. The darker your skin is the more melanin you produce, which is the skins natural defense against the sun that, paradoxically, is produced when the skin is exposed to sun light.

Melanin gives the skin its pigment. The darker your skin is the better protected you are from the sun. This is the reason why warmer climates have darker skinned people. A natural occurrence to the environment. My grandparents are from Southern Italy, hence the olive tone to my skin and gives me a decreased chance of sun burns. I can burn. I need to be cautious the first one or two times out in the sun and use sun block. Once a tan begins to build, I don’t burn anymore. A tan is the skin producing melanin in response to the sun for protection.

I am not an expert, but I have left three addresses from both sides below.  I suggest that you take the time to read up. It is important to say that Vitamin D is not the only reason for the sharp increase in autoimmune conditions, there are other factors, which is why Vitamin D is only one of the components of the Protocol, but it is definitely a factor.

 

Bonne Sante

 

https://www.livestrong.com/article/373895-how-to-help-your-body-produce-more-melanin/

https://www.skincancerprevention.org/skin-cancer/risk-factors

https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/what-is-vitamin-d/

 

 

Marching Forth into Untested Waters

Next month on the 27th marks one year on the Wahls Protocol! Can’t believe its already been eleven months. I won’t say it flew by, it was hard, but it has become second nature and a normal part of my life. So much so, that I’ve become lazy with my blog. The blog’s most important role was to help me learn, stay on track and look back when frustrated at my progress. And, it has done just that. The side benefit is to carry the message to anyone seeking, that this exists.

I am actively living level III, which is nutritional ketosis. I have completely eliminated gluten, dairy and processed sugar (I only have stevia once in a while). I have a fermented serving most days. I eat mostly organic according to the clean 15/dirty dozen list and I eat clean meat which is antibiotic, hormone free and pasture raised.  I have completely failed in the eating organ meat and seaweed sections. But, it is something that I will tackle again.

I practice detoxing by using the steam room at the gym four days a week and I take Epsom and sea salt baths. I have detoxed my household and now use cleaner antiseptics and personal care products and got rid of my microwave and Teflon pans. I continue to improve in this area.

I completed physical therapy with great success. I was blessed with a fantastic physio who knew exactly what didn’t work in my drop foot leg and taught me a series of exercises to strengthen the groups of muscles around what doesn’t work. As a result of that, I walk straighter, my gait is far better, quicker and walking stairs is even better. Physio is over, but I practice the exercises four times a week at the gym. I have completely dropped the ball on e-stim. I need to get back to using that machine.

I am counseling with a fantastic social worker, lucky me. She’s wonderful and doesn’t pull punches, which I like. I am, painfully, taking her suggestions. I have signed up to volunteer on the board of a local theater. If I do that well, then I will continue on into the work force, one prudent step at a time. I am also seeing an occupational therapist for career counseling. She basically said that I have good handle of what I can and cannot do, what is a mystery for all of us, is how many hours of work will affect MS fatigue. I have improved dramatically in this area, however, it is still an issue and these are untested waters. The volunteering is a beginning. I’ll career counsel with an agency soon too.

I am excited for my future! It has been a long, long time since I’ve experienced hope like this. It is profound.

 

Bonne Sante

 

It is a matter of thought…

I gave away my walker last week. A woman in my lobby was waiting with a walker unable to get into her cab because her heavy duty, older walker didn’t fold up. I thought of my aerodynamic fold up walker that I haven’t needed to use in six months. I gave her the walker, she was thrilled to have it and I was thrilled to not need it. A friend said, “What if you need it again?” I said, “A. I’m not going to need it again and B. If that’s not the case then I’ll buy one.” Its like giving away clothes that are too big for me. I want to keep them in case I put the weight back on. That thought is self defeating. I live my life in the day and keep a vision for tomorrow well stoked. My vision for tomorrow is abundance, health and physical fitness. My responsibility is training my thoughts and body for that future today.

I am a sober alcoholic. It would be the same as keeping bottles of my favorite alcohol lying around, in case I drink again. Sobriety has been the act of thinking sober. Losing weight has been the act of thinking thin and fit. Getting well has been the act of thinking spry, active, clear minded and to stay focused on that. I had to tackle the disabled mentality and identity that one becomes accustomed to when reduced by an illness as devastating as MS. I’m preparing to work again. The MS Social Worker said as she motioned two fingers slowly pinching closed to a one inch gap, “Baby steps.”, she cautioned, “Try volunteering fifteen hours a week first.” My instant retort, “I already volunteer fifteen hours a week.” That is the perfect example of a closed mind. First of all, the volunteering I do is sporadic, not in eight hour shifts. That’s what I need to do.

After allowing the idea to sink into my head (took a week), I contacted a friend who is involved with a non profit that had asked me a few years ago to get involved. I declined then, because I was way too sick to commit. However, that isn’t the case now and is a prudent way to test the working waters and see how I do over the course of several months. That is wise. If I leave it up to my head, Miss, “I want to jump into a forty hour a week job after over a decade of not working first!”, mentality can and will set me back leagues. Slow and steady wins the long haul race. I’ve asked professionals for help so that I do this prudently and don’t set myself back. Asking for help is part one, part two is taking direction. We see advisers as a weakness, but it is actually a sign of strength. Most powerful and successful members of society have advisers. For a complete picture the balance is to research your advisers (make sure they have the expertise you need), weigh the information they offer and look up your own information. In other words, don’t follow blindly, do your due diligence and don’t close your mind to other’s valuable experience. Its a balance. I see the Social Worker a second time and have my first appointment with the Occupational Therapist this coming Wednesday. Woody Allen said that, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” I have learned that this is absolutely true and that the rest is following up with what is offered. I am on a fact finding mission to understand what I can do and what I can’t. This way, I am protecting myself, making myself as useful as possible and not wasting anyone’s time.

I have a clear vision that is growing and expanding. I see myself successful in my work, my personal life and will be financially set. My responsibility is to do whatever I need to do to realize this. That is to stay positive, change my thinking to that of an able bodied person, to think abundantly, to get to the gym, eat the foods needed for health, and continually cut out toxic products and toxic people from my life…..

…….One day at a time.

 

Bonne Sante

Ugh……Snow Bound

I workout four days a week, Sun, Mon, Thurs, and Fri. Monday I saw the MS Social Worker and today and now tomorrow, I’ve had to cancel due to the snow storm were having. It is a slow storm over the course of two days, but this city is huge, 512 square miles or 825 square kilometers. Huge. It takes them a while to clean up after storms. It makes me nervous to miss exercise sessions. It is motivating me to take the time to sit down and make jewelry. Its been awhile. That does feel good to do. Jewelry making is an old friend of mine going back 25 plus years. Things could be worse, I could be working right now trying to get to my job. Which will be a concern, hopefully, next year.

I’ve been experimenting with recipes and store bought level III adaptive snacks. Sometimes, you just need something, chewy or salty and crunchy. I’ve tried beet chips, which are good. I learned how to make Kale chips and almond flour biscuits. All hits.

Crunchy Dried Beets

The beets are dried, thin, crunchy and naturally sweet. The bag I bought’s only ingredient are dried beets. Nothing else added. That’s important, look at the ingredients always for fillers or oils we can’t have. What I especially like is that they are high in Potassium. I didn’t realize beets were high in Potassium till I read it on the bag. Potassium is helpful for me on level III, whereas that’s one of the elements that can take a hit in Ketosis. This is the brand I bought in Canada at Costco:

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These chips are sturdy enough to be good dipping chips. Dips I use are olive pate, Tahini sauce, salsa or guacamole.

Salty Kale Chips

Baked Kale chips. Helpful, whereas I can use kale as either my vegetable portion of greens or sulpher as they fall under either category. I found this recipe online:

http://ohsheglows.com/2014/03/12/6-tips-for-flawless-kale-chips-all-dressed-kale-chips-recipe/>

This has an excellent tutorial to make the perfect crunchy chip. The spices are good, though I could cut down a bit on some ingredients. Play with it till you get it where you like it.

Chewy Almond Flour Biscuits

This is a recipe I found for almond flour biscuits. I make good homemade biscuits. If that is what you’re expecting, these don’t fit that bill, however as something, new and different. They are very good. More like a soft chewy cookie, they have a nice texture and make a good base recipe that could go in the direction of cookies or flavored biscuits. I no longer have the website I found this recipe from, I apologize to the creator of them, I am going to reprint:

Almond Flour Biscuits

  • 2 cups Almond Flour
  • 2 tsp Gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs (beaten) or 1 tbsp flax or chia seed mixed with 3 tbsp water for each egg
  • 1/3 cup Ghee or Coconut oil (measured solid, then melted)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I didn’t have any, so light greased with coconut oil, worked fine).
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in wet ingredients.
  3. Scoop tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the lined baking sheet (a cookie scoop is the fastest way). Form into rounded biscuit shapes (flatten slightly with your fingers).
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes, until firm and golden. Cool on the baking sheet.

I played with these already and attempted a Keto friendly cookie. I added 2 tbsp Cacao, stevia to taste (optional), and 1 tsp vanilla. They were okay. I would add more Cacao, maybe 1/4 cup. I really need to play with that more, liquid will be needed or fats increased. Play, play, play.

Everything I learn is another tool in my arsenal, giving me more options and increasing my success.

 

Bonne Sante

 

All or Nothing? I Pick All.

When I tackle something, I have learned through the years of my life to bring all of myself or nothing. I am an open book. Following the Wahls Protocol and how I am defeating MS is no different. My goals for this blog have been:

  • To help keep myself motivated and accountable
  • To provide a detailed record of one person’s healing
  • To inspire others
  • To give a truthful account, good and bad
  • To share helpful information and shortcuts that I have learned
  • To give a realistic account that does show how hard, yet how doubly rewarding this has been and is
  • To prove that its all worth it

At this time, as I have written in the past few blogs, I am rehabilitating in preparation for the workforce. I will have a job that fully utilizes all that I have to offer. Too be successful, I have had to look at some tough to swallow truths about myself. I have written about these as I deal with them. Is it wise to publicly speak of a crippling past fear of success, of horrible wreckage at the hands of MS, of darker issues that I have worked very hard to successfully overcome, thereby preparing me for a one hundred percent commitment to the Wahls Protocol?

Fear….what if a future employer reads about these issues and discriminates and I lose the opportunity for this job or that? Here’s my answer to that…..I bring all of myself or nothing. That includes any future job on my horizon. My learned skills, my experiences, and my wisdom comes with me. I once lived in a self constructed prison, terrified that the world would know where I’ve been and what I’ve done and that secretly, deep down inside, I knew you knew that I was worthless. It has taken me a long time to overcome that. Today, I have so much to give, so much I want to learn, and so much to share. Because of the Wahls Protocol, my body is finally catching up to my ambition and drive to help others. My mind is out of the fog, awake and hungry to learn more.

I had a friend in the early 90’s who had Progressive MS. She was diagnosed when she was 18. She managed to complete her degree in education, but was never able to realize her potential in her chosen career. By 26, just as I met her, she lost her right to drive, her husband left her for someone else and she then had to let go of her position as the primary caregiver for their three year old son. She was athletic, she went to the gym five days a week. A tiny, muscular thing. She strained as she forced her spastic legs to walk, her hands shook uncontrollably and the day she messed herself, but then calmly gave us direction to help her, all of us embarrassed for her, whilst she stayed calmer then us all. I think often of her courage and dignity in the face of all that ugliness.

That year a new drug, the first ever, was introduced. Copaxone. I watched her face light up with a renewed hope, only to see it fall just a few days later when she was told that the drug could do nothing for her as she was Progressive. Well Joanne, I just want to say to you, I have relapsing remitting MS and I have been on Copaxone for ten years. I started the drug when I had 20 lesions and now I have double that. I too lost my ability to drive, lost my ability to work, had incontinent bowels and had to give up primary care of my children. So, my dear friend, you missed nothing. She died a few years later, bedridden. When I was diagnosed with MS in 2004, I immediately thought of Joanne. Terrified, having watched what it did to her. If she had been given the knowledge that I have been given, she would’ve jumped on that band wagon in a heartbeat. She was far more disciplined than I am. If she’d known that Dr. Swank had published his 30 year trial on MS and diet with astounding results around the same time as the release of Copaxone, she’d be here telling me about the new exploits of her now adult son.

That’s why I have a responsibility to share my experience, strength and hope and that includes the dark stuff. So anyone afflicted with not just MS, but other autoimmune conditions, can have a chance to take control of their own health again or even better, prevent themselves from ever developing one of these diseases. This is my personal journey, and like all journey’s, though they may be the same road, each will be its own.

My success is in memory of Joanne.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-background-beach-blue-296282/